Daily Archives: January 6, 2014

Leicestershire: Birstall

Want2Dance, Birstall

Birstall Social club, Wanlip Lane, Birstall, LE4 4JS

I decided to take the club’s bold website claim that “You are assured of a warm welcome.”   So, not knowing anyone who went to the club, and having no connection with the area I went to their Halloween night dance, just to see.

And yes, they lived up to their promise.  The lady at the door, who of course didn’t know me from the Man in the Moon, gave me a smile, welcomed me in, and I walked in and parked myself.

Getting a drink was fun.  The club is an old Working Men’s Club with the main bar occupied by a group of resolute drinkers, each with a pint, each looking the glum side of solemn, and each not saying a word.

As for the barman, well.  I ordered a Merlot.  They didn’t have one.   So I said, “any red wine”.  Eventually they found a small bottle.  The barman unscrewed the top, in case I couldn’t cope, plonked it down and told me the price.

I looked at him.

He looked at him.

I looked at him.

He eventually said, “You want a glass or something?”

I said that with a red wine, yes, by and large, a glass would be the sort of thing that I would enjoy.

He plonked it down.

The whole thing was more hilarious than annoying, especially in the context of the evening which was great fun.

The club was not packed, but I worked my way along the rows asking each lady in turn to dance, and then once that was done, going back and asking the best for another and another.  And some of them began to ask me.

What it would have been like had I sat on my own and waited, I don’t know, but doing it my way this was a good night out.  Lots of people in fancy dress costume, and they welcomed in the stranger like a long lost soul.

It’s not a huge dance area, but it was fine for the numbers that were there on the night I attended.

The DJ was interesting – she chose slow numbers at the start, and gradually took the tempo up – an interesting way of doing it.

There was free food too – a really good choice of the usual plus a few extra bits.   All in all a super night.

So why do I not go back more often?

Simply because the club night runs from 8 to 10.30pm, which means the amount of time one would get for a dance would be very limited if one is travelling a long distance.  So I’ll stick to the weekend dance nights.

  • Air conditioning: 3 out of 5 – I didn’t get over hot but don’t know how they kept the temperature down.
  • Atmosphere: 5 out of 5
  • Do ladies ask men: 2 out of five. Not bad, given that I was a stranger.
  • Facilities: 2 out of 5.  It’s an old working men’s club, so the facilities are basic.
  • Free water: Yes.
  • Friendliness: 5 out of 5
  • Location: 2 out of 5.  Residential area – use a sat nav if you don’t know the area.
  • Music: 5 out of 5
  • Parking: 1 out of 5.  Difficult – only a tiny number of places outside, and it is just a case of driving around the local roads trying to find somewhere.  Maybe I just went down the wrong roads.
  • Space: 2 out of 5.  OK for the numbers there on the night I attended
  • Venue overall: 3 out of 5

Northants: Wellingborough

The Tithe Barn, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, NN8 1AH

Around 2008/9 Wellingborough boasted two nights of Ceroc a week – on a monday and a wednesday.  It also hosted free styles that we so crowded you sometimes couldn’t even get onto the dance floor and were forced to dance on the carpet around the edge.

Such days are long gone.  The Railwayman’s club which hosted the events was in a desperate state of non-repair, the local users of the club were decidedly unfriendly to the outsiders who came to dance, and cholera injections were recommended for anyone seeking to use the toilets.  Eventually it went bust and the building is now being pulled down.

After a while the club moved to the Embankment, but it too had multiple problems, and by now the audience was in decline.   Eventually the Embankment night stopped, and Wellingborough Ceroc came to an end.

After such a tale of woe, opening up again in the town takes some bravery, but that is what happened in late 2013.   The new venue – The Tithe Barn – however is small, and not easy to find unless you know exactly where you are going.

Not only is it small it is also a long thin shape which doesn’t make for a conducive dance hall.  But it could work – if the numbers went up to a decent level.   However the last few times I have been, this is far from the case.    Meaning there might only be four or five competent dancers to dance with.

Just how far and how fast the new venture declined was shown when one night the two taxi dancers rapidly changed out of their gear and were off at 10pm – hardly a good way to make people feel that the venue was on the up.

They have had a freestyle there – I’m told the numbers for that were ok – but otherwise it is a venue to use if you are happy to dance with one regular partner and leave it at that.  Going on your own is not really much of an option.

The people who are there are friendly, and the teacher and DJ welcomed me back like an old friend which was nice as I hadn’t been to one of their venues for a couple of years.  It is just that there are not enough people there to make it worthwhile.

 Parking is round the back via the Morrisons car park, but there are no signs (indeed there aren’t any signs to the Morrison’s car park).  You are expected to know!  The Tithe Barn is off the Morrisons car park and that also is not signed.
  • Air conditioning: None –the big fans are there, but hardly needed when the audience is so small.
  • Atmosphere: 1 out of 5
  • Do ladies ask men: 2 out of 5.   But then there are so few present after the intermediate class that they have to.
  • Facilities: 1 out of 5.  No bar, and few seats in the dance area.  Seats in an ante-room.
  • Free water: Yes.
  • Friendliness: 3 out of 5
  • Location: 5 out of 5.  Town centre which is good – as long as you know where it is and can find your way to it.
  • Music: 4 out of 5
  • Parking: 5 out of 5 if you can find your way to Morrisons and then into the Tithe Barn park.
  • Space: 1 out of 5, although to be fair, there has been more than enough space for the tiny number of people there.
  • Venue overall: 1 out of 5.  If they could treble the numbers it would be 3/5.